Q & A | Paper Ghost Studio

IMG_8461Nestled in the Atlanta neighborhood of Candler Park, Paper Ghost Studio seems to have a soft spot for the adorable and playful. Earlier this month, the gallery/working studio put on to have and to hold, a show featuring tote bags with illustrations by in-house and other local artists. Each tote was one of a kind and, like that show, Paper Ghost Studio is a one-of-a-kind gallery. Founded late last year by local illustrators Mike Lowery, Katrin Wiehle, Sarah Watts and Caleb Morris, the gallery puts on about one show a month. Otherwise, the artists work together (or separately) in the space to create new work.

Here, CommonCreativ talks to the team behind the studio about brainstorming new quirky themes for their shows, working together and their upcoming Atlanta-themed show.

CommonCreativ: How did Paper Ghost Studio come together? When did it open?

A few years ago, we started talking about opening a studio space. We were tired of working alone in our home studios and wanted a space where we could be around other people when we worked. It took us almost a year to find the amazing place we found in Candler Park and, in October of 2014, Paper Ghost Studio opened up as our place to work and collaborate.

After about a month of having the studio, we decided to do a one-off show where we could showcase the new personal work that we’d been making. We decided to invite a few of our local artist friends to show with us, and the night was so well received and such a blast to do, we’ve had a show every month since.

IMG_8462CC: So PGS is an artists’ studio and a gallery?

Yes, we are primarily a working studio, so the shop and gallery portions are only open by appointment.


CC: What artists are currently using your studio?

Mike Lowery is a children’s book illustrator and illustration professor at SCAD who has worked with Hallmark Cards, Penguin Books, Chronicle Books, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Macworld and many others. Katrin Wiehle is a children’s book illustrator and writer from Germany. Sarah Watts is a book illustrator who has worked for Simon & Schuster, Random House and many others.  Sarah is also a founding member of the fabric company Cotton + Steel. Caleb Morris is an advertising and surface design illustrator who has worked recently with Blue Moon to design a label and Girl Skateboards to design a new skate deck. And we’ve recently added Sarah Neuburger, a book illustrator for Chronicle Books and the founder of The Small Object, a site for custom wedding toppers and stamps.



CC: What’s the process to apply and show at the gallery, especially as a new artist? Can artists outside of the studio apply and submit for your shows and gallery?

We started by showing work from people we knew, and then started reaching out to artists we’ve seen here in town. If someone is interested in showing in our space, they can email us and we’ll then present it to our group—and to a few of the artists we regularly work with like Kyle Brooks (black cat tips) and Rod Ben (killamari)—and decide if it’s a good fit.


CC: What criteria do you look for when choosing whether or not to accept an artist and their pieces?

Since we’re an illustration studio, we’re typically looking for illustrators to show in the space.  The art that we generally show tends to be sweet or playful.



CC: How do you pick the themes for your gallery shows?

We meet as a group constantly, sometimes to talk about art, sometimes to make art, sometimes just to have a drink and talk about anything but art. In the same way that musicians are constantly thinking of fake band names for future side projects, the Paper Ghost artists are constantly thinking of upcoming show ideas—sometimes they’re keepers.


CC: Do you guys offer other services such as workshops at the studio?

Yes! We just did a workshop hosted by Tombow, an art supply company who brought free materials(and ice cream)for everyone who attended. And starting this month, we’ll be hosting weekly events and monthly workshops on everything from at-home style screen printing to rubber stamping and more. We’re also planning on having weekly drawing nights that are open to the public.



CC: What does Paper Ghost Studio have on the horizon?

This Saturday, we have our biggest show yet, Home: A show about Atlanta. We’re in love with our little town and have decided to dedicate our space to bragging about it (for a month, and then we will get back to complaining about the heat or lack of good public transportation). And I can’t say much about it yet, but in October we’ll have a Halloween show and are planning on completely transforming the space.
Check out the event page for this Saturday’s show here and get more info about the gallery on their website.

About Muriel Vega

Co-editor-in-chief of CommonCreativ ATL since 2011. Muriel is also a freelance writer, pie-maker extraordinaire, has a dog that may be a meme and really loves to travel.

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